Avoiding Credit Card Fraud
Everybody has heard horror stories of credit card fraud. It is never pleasant to be a victim of robbery but with credit cards it is even more unpleasant because you might not notice for months that somebody else is using your money and you are paying for his or her pleasures. While there are many protections against credit card fraud, even credit card issuers admit that fraud is something that goes together with credit cards and no matter what you do, you can't be 100 per cent sure that you will avoid it. So, we've got to learn to live with credit card fraud and the only reasonable attempt that we can make is to try to minimize the damage.
One of the trickiest parts of credit card fraud is that fraud can be committed even if your card is not physically stolen. This is especially a risk if you use your card for phone, online or mobile payments because in this case you just tell your credit card number and later it is charged. If you live in the US, there are federal protections for you, if your card is stolen and transactions are made with it. Generally, your liability is limited to $50 for unauthorized charges but this depends on how fast you react, have any purchases been made before you notified the issuer, etc.
The worst approach to credit card fraud is to accept it as part of life and don't react in any way. Yes, credit card frauds happen and will happen but when you are careful and keep an eye on your card, if it is stolen, it will hardly go unnoticed by you. At least the card's physical presence is something that is up to you. If you notice that your credit or debit card, or more likely cards, are stolen, you should immediately call the issuer and inform them. You may want to have a look at some more tips about how to protect your credit card.
When you carry a whole bunch of credit cards, as the majority of the Americans do and your purse gets stolen, it might be a bit of a challenge to remember all the cards you had in your purse and inform all their issuers (if they are different institutions) but if you don't do it, you will have to pay quite a lot for your negligence. If you really need to have more than 5 credit cards and you notice that it becomes somehow difficult to manage their whereabouts, you can use a registration service, which will keep track of all your debit, credit, ATM, etc. cards. You pay an annual fee for the registration service and if your cards get stolen, you call the registration service and it in turn informs all your credit card issuers.
A general precaution that you must take is not to write your PIN on a place where it can be easily seen. This includes sheets of paper that you carry in your purse, post-it notes and envelopes that you keep on your desk or in your bag. And the best is to remember the PIN, instead of writing it down.
The above cases included physical theft of your credit card. But quite often your credit card is resting peacefully in your pocket and somebody else is spending your money. You are not helpless in this case, either. If you examine carefully all your monthly statements and check each transaction, you will notice any strange purchases that you don't recall making. In this case, report them in writing to the credit card issuer. This is very important because if you don't report any unauthorized charges, you will have to pay for them.